Self-aware: how well do you really know yourself?
Welcome to the first real part of our leadership series! In this six-part series, we aim to deconstruct leadership and find out what leaders are made out of. We start off by delving into, well, you. Being self-aware is one of the most important qualities you can have because it helps you to understand your strengths and values. Also, through self-awareness, you can shape your own personal leadership style.
What does it take to be self-aware?
1) Identify and live your personal values
I remember often being asked about my values and struggling to answer. It was not about not having any values, but more about not knowing what my values are. Knowing your values is an important part of living a fulfilling and meaningful life.
When you start to identify your personal values, you can ask yourself some guiding questions. What are the most important things for me? What could I not live without? Which things do I need to be happy?
Write down your values and think about their role in your life. If your values form a good part of your life, excellent; if not, you know where to start. Living our values is one of the most important things in developing as a leader because by doing so we are setting an example for others to follow. And it is not so bad for you either to focus on what is truly important for you in life.
2) Focus on your strengths over your weaknesses
When we focus on our strengths instead of our weaknesses we are running on full power. However, we first need to identify those strengths. One good way might be doing a personality test such as the MBTI, or the 16 personalities test. Be aware that you still need to reflect on the results to get the full benefit.
After finding out our strengths, we need to put them into action. Think about how can you put those strengths into good use in your everyday life – or even during a volunteering project. How can you use your strengths to your fullest potential?
We all are good at something. We only need to spend a little time exploring our inner being.
3) Explore your passions
A passion is like a time machine: hours just seem to fly by. Passions are those things that you have always wanted to do, things that drive you forward. It can be anything – and everybody has one.
By finding your passion(s) you start to understand what do you truly want to do in life. Ask yourself: if money or time were not issues and there were no risks involved, what would I do? Write your answer down, and think about how you can work towards that.
Passionate people can extend their passionate energy to others, and so make excellent leaders. What is your passion?
I strongly recommend you to take a minute, to sit down and to reflect on these three points. The results might drastically shape the way you live, and at best, give you a direction for your life. Knowing yourself also helps you understand your leadership style better.
How well do you think you know yourself? What kind of ideas did you get from this? Let me know in the comments – I’d love to hear your thoughts!